Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, April 20, 2015:
The presidential race for 2016 is gearing up and candidates are preparing themselves for the upcoming campaign. On April 13, 2015, Senator Marco Rubio became the third candidate to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He follows Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, earlier profiled by Clarion Project.
As each candidate announces their intention to run, Clarion Project will provide a summary of each candidate’s positions on issues relating to Islamic extremism, in order to help our readers make the most informed possible choice come voting day. Should there be any significant changes, we intend to update our readers on the positions of any given candidate.
As Clarion is a bipartisan organization, we will not be endorsing any party or any candidate. All information provided is intended as informative only and should not be taken as evidence of Clarion’s preference for any given candidate.
First-term Florida Senator (2010-Current)
Serves on Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues.
Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.
View of Islamism
Sees the conflict as ideological in nature and not a response to aggressive U.S. policy.
“There is no greater risk to this country than the risk posed by radical Islamic terrorists. These terrorists aren’t trying to kill us because we offended them. They attacked us because they want to impose their view of the world on as many people as they can and America is standing in their way. We need to make it unmistakably clear that we will take whatever it takes for however long it takes to defeat radical Islamic terrorism.”
“For radical Islam, our entire culture is offensive. They’re not just offended about a YouTube video. They’re offended that women serve in the U.S. Senate. They’re offended that women drive. They’re offended that little girls get to go to school. In some of these countries, converting to Christianity is punishable by death. Our whole culture is offensive to them, not just a YouTube video.”
The “spread and success of political and economic freedom in the Middle East is in our vital interest.”
“Absolutely” supports a permanent presence of U.S. troops in the Middle East.
In 2011, the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, appeared to take credit by praising Rubio for declining an invitation to speak at a Tea Party event that included controversial anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller and Dr. Bill Warner, who CAIR branded as “Islamophobes.”
“We thank Senator Rubio and Governor Scott for avoiding the false perception that they would in any way legitimize anti-Muslim hatred by appearing at an event featuring hard-core Islamophobes,” said CAIR-FL Executive Director Hassan Shibly.
Shibly has a history of Islamist extremism.
Criticized the five members of Congress who wrote letters to U.S. government agencies asking for inquiries into their involvement with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and possible Islamist sympathizers.
Rubio said he “[does not] share the feelings that are in that letter,” but he may only have been referring to the concern voiced about Huma Abedin, Secretary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff and close friend.
Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton since 1996 and Deputy Chief of Staff when she was Secretary of State, was assistant-editor of an Islamist journal from 1996 to 2008 and three of her immediate family members are closely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. Her husband’s mayoral campaign also received donations from a lobbyist for Al-Jazeera. This has raised questions about the security clearance process.
Her husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner, is Jewish and very pro-Israel. Clinton denies that Abedin is part of the Brotherhood and described those voicing concerns as “irresponsible and demagogic.”
Abedin was also defended by Republican officials. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says “she is about as far away from the Muslim Brotherhood view of women and ideology as you can get.”
Egypt & Muslim Brotherhood
Supported the U.S. call for Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak to resign.
Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is part of the problem of radical Islam and is inciting anti-Americanism.
“We should expect for them to say the same things in Arabic as they are saying in English. Don’t express condolences and outrage in English on the attack against America, but in Arabic completely ignore it and only talk about the YouTube video. We should expect more from them.”
Did not support calls for severing aid to Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood took over, but did want aid to be conditional, based on the Brotherhood’s commitment to human rights and democracy.
Opposed cutting off foreign aid after the Egyptian military’s popularly-supported overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood. He instead proposed the aid be conditioned on the new Egyptian government’s commitment to human rights and democracy, including a transition to a civilian government.
Shiite Islamists including the Iranian regime seek an “apocalyptic showdown” to trigger the appearance of the Hidden Imam, or the “Mahdi.”
Would scrap the current nuclear deal with Iran and implement tougher sanctions.
U.S. “should be open to negotiations with Iran, but always remember that they should not be deemed a success when they only lead to further negotiations.”
A potential deal must require Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
U.S. should have openly and forcefully supported the Green Revolution in 2009.
Iraq, Syria & ISIS
The decision to invade Iraq and topple the Saddam Hussein dictatorship made the world a better place.
Arm moderate rebels in Syria to fight ISIS and Al-Qaeda and remove dictator Bashar Assad from power.
“The best-organized, the best-armed and the best-equipped elements in Syria are the most radical ones, the most anti-democratic ones, the most anti-American ones,” he explained.
U.S. should have a policy of working with Islamist-led Turkey and the Arab League to topple Assad and “replace him with a stable secular government.”
Opposed the Obama Administration’s plan for airstrikes on the Syrian dictatorship after it repeatedly used chemical weapons. He said U.S. military force should not be used in the conflict at all.
In September 2013, Rubio said he does not support U.S. military action in the Syrian civil war.
In December 2014, he wrote that the U.S. must enforce a No-Fly Zone in parts of Syria, which would require military enforcement. He argued that the it was necessary in order to assist Syrian rebels who can fight ISIS.
Opposes timeline for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Supported military intervention to overthrow Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
U.S. did not provide enough support to the Libyan government after Gaddafi’s fall, permitting Islamist extremists to flourish.
U.S. should continue foreign aid to Libya’s government because it is working with us. This was in response to Senator Rand Paul, another GOP candidate, arguing that aid should be cut off to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan.
U.S. should work with the Islamist government of Turkey to help Syrian rebels remove Bashar Assad from power.
In 2014, wrote a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan (the current President) confronting his government’s anti-Israel incitement and reports that groups in Turkey were organizing to violate the blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Endorsed Israeli military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.